Finishing a basement costs $25,000-$35,000, but some basement costs over $100,000 to finish. Meanwhile, some homeowners only spend about $1,000-$5,500 on their basements. It all depends on the square feet of your project, the project scope (full vs. partial basement), regional labor costs and the type of finishes and materials you select.
Cost to finish basement:
Basement finishing often includes installing flooring, walls, windows, doors, a ceiling, trim, built-in shelving, lights and more. Contractors can oversee the relocation or installation of new outlets and switches, lighting or heating and cooling element. And your final touches may include carpet and painting.
With so many factors affecting the overall cost of finishing a basement, it's important to do your research. After you're done reading this cost guide, contact basement finishing professionals near you to receive personalized price quotes for your unfinished basement.
What's in this cost guide?
- Basement finish cost per square foot
- Basement finishing cost breakdown
- Other cost considerations
- Basement waterproofing cost
- Cost to finish a basement bathroom
- Basement remodeling cost
- Is it worth finishing a basement?
- How to hire a contractor
- Find basement finishing professionals near you
Cost per square foot to finish a basement
The average cost to finish a basement is $35-$150 per square foot. However, some professional may charge less. For example, a general contractor in Rockville, Maryland, charges an average of $24-$34 per square foot for basement finishing.
|Total square footage||Estimated starting cost|
Your basement's total square footage isn't the only factor contractors consider when creating your estimates. They consider all the components of a job, including the materials and skilled labor required and the amount of time and permits needed to finish the basement. Using these details, they can create a quote with a cost per square foot, which will include all the work to be done.
The cost per square foot may increase when basements are small because the amount of work remains high, and the company needs to charge a minimum fee to cover the cost of doing business. No true estimate can be given until a contractor sees the project in person.
Basement finishing cost breakdown
|Project or subcontractor||Estimated cost|
|Electrician||$45-$120 per hour|
|Drywall||$30-$60 per panel|
|Framing||$9-$21 per sq. ft.|
|Insulation||$0.17-$5 per sq. ft.|
|Lighting||$90-$250 per fixture|
|Plumbing||$450-$1,000 per fixture|
|Radiant heating||$5-$20 per sq. ft.|
Basement electrical wiring cost
A professional electrician or contractor licensed to do electrical work can safely install wiring if a basement has none. The average cost to install electrical outlets in a basement $75-$500.
For example, Ingram Construction LLC in Washington, D.C. charges about $180 to move two outlets and install a third in an exposed basement wall with no drywall. The more switches and outlets installed, the lower the cost per item.
Finished basement floor cost
Your flooring selection also affects the total cost of refinishing a basement. The least expensive option may be to stain the existing concrete. Bringing in professionals to install carpet, vinyl, tile or hardwood floors will cost more.
|Flooring type||Cost per square foot|
As an example, W&B Villa Construction in Deerfield Beach, Florida, charges $3.20-$3.50 per square foot to install wood-look tile in spaces ranging from 6x24 feet to 8x48 feet.
Basement plumbing cost
Installing a laundry room, basement bathroom or kitchen all require water and drainage pipes. If there are no existing plumbing lines in the basement, professional plumbers and some licensed contractors can safely install the system. Plumbers charge roughly $450-$1,000 per fixture.
The cost to install drywall ranges from $30 and $60 per panel or $649 and $1,200. These costs estimates include material and labor.
Unless your basement already has window or door access directly to the outdoors, area building codes may require installation of exit windows (for emergencies) when transforming a bare basement into livable space or sleeping quarters. Adding an egress window may require contractors to excavate land and reframe part of an exterior wall to meet this building code, resulting in a higher overall cost.
Materials greatly affect the cost of basement refinishing. The high-end basement straight out of a remodeling magazine will have a higher price tag than a basic basement finished with contractor-grade (entry level) flooring and fixtures.
Repairs and damage
Addressing any needed repairs before finishing a basement is a good idea and will also increase overall costs of your project. In addition, if pros discover water damage, evidence of termite infestation or structural concerns during a finishing project, the timeline will shift and costs will increase.
Depending on whether plumbing lines already exist or need to be installed as well as the grade of fixtures and other materials selected, the cost to finish a basement with a bathroom could range from $3,000-$15,000 or even as much as $30,000, explains the bathroom building pros at Viewpoint NW in Vancouver, Washington. A standard full bathroom with a shower should average about $5,000.
Keep in mind the cost could be lower if the price is rolled into a larger basement finishing project instead of a standalone bathroom addition to the basement.
Basement waterproofing costs
It costs $500-$3,500 to waterproof a basement. Basement waterproofing will likely have a lower cost if it's part of a larger basement finishing project than if you hire someone to tackle this task alone.
Basement waterproofing uses a range of methods to ensure water seepage and collected moisture don't damage your foundation or bring mold into your home. Before renovating your basement space, communicate with your general contractor about what, if any, steps need to be taken to waterproof your basement. Ignoring moisture issues and installing flooring and drywall before waterproofing your basement will lead to more money lost in the long run.
Installing a sump pump is one way to address water that's collecting due to leaks, poor drainage, or foundation seepage. The pros can also apply concrete sealer to prevent moisture from creeping through the foundation.
The average cost to remodel a basement is $18,500. Overall, costs can range from $5,000-$70,000. Remodeling a basement is technically different from finishing a basement. Typically, you will remodel a finished basement and it often entails changing the structure or layout.
There are some seriously lucrative benefits to basement finishing. Here are some reasons you should consider finishing your basement.
- Boost your home's resale value. A previous study found that you can recoup 70% of the cost of finishing a basement.
- Create more living space for your household. Do you plan to grow your family? If so, finishing your basement and converting it to a living area may be cheaper than adding a room or moving to a new home.
- Increase your happiness. One study found that 85% of people had a greater desire to be home after converting their basement into a living area, and 65% had an increased sense of enjoyment while at home.
- Finished basements can provide rental income. Looking for way to make passive income? Renting out your basement might be one way to do so.
To find a contractor to help you finish your basement, start by searching for professionals online. Read their online reviews from past customers to get an idea of their experience and expertise. You should also look for photos of basements that the contractors have completed.
Once you've pinpointed several potential contractors, reach out to them for cost estimates. To get an accurate price quotes, give the contractors as much information about your project as possible. For example, how big is your basement? What features and finishes do you want to add? When do you want the project completed?
As an example, you'll pay less to add a basement bathroom when you also hire the same general contractor to do the flooring, electrical wiring and whole basement project at the same time, as opposed to hiring someone just to install a bathroom.
Finally, make sure any professional you hire is reputable and licensed in your area. Check out Thumbtacks smart hiring tips to learn more about safety when making hiring decisions.
How much does it cost to finish a 1,000-square-foot basement?
Expect to pay at least $35,000 to finish a 1,000-square-foot basement.
How much does it cost to finish a 700-square-foot basement?
It costs approximately $24,500 to finish a 700-square-foot basement.
How much does it cost to finish a 2,000-square-foot basement?
Finishing a 2,000-square-foot basement costs approximately $70,000 to finish.
Can you finish a basement for $5,000?
If your unfinished basement only needs a few things (floors, new ceiling, a few lights, etc.), it's possible the cost to finish your basement will be around $5,000.
How much does it cost to frame and drywall a basement?
Expect to pay $9-$21 per square foot to frame a basement, and $30 and $60 per panel to install drywall in your basement.
In what order should I finish my basement?
Typically, homeowners take the following steps to finish their basement:
- Waterproof the basement
- Fix mold or moisture problems
- Install insulation
- Install electrical, plumbing, duct/HVAC systems
- Finish the walls
- Install flooring
- Finish the ceiling
- Trim and paint
Do I need to seal my basement walls before finishing?
Yes, you should seal your basement walls when finishing your basement.
What goes into finishing a basement?
At its most basic, a finished basement is different from an unfinished basement because it has floors, ceilings and walls like those in the main house, while an unfinished basement has bare concrete floors, no drywall covering the framing and exposed ceiling beams.
However, when people plan on finishing a basement it means more than merely covering the concrete floors and exposed joists of an unfinished basement. Homeowners usually undertake a basement remodeling project like this to transform an unfinished basement into a livable, useable space by adding in electrical wiring, lighting, plumbing, a basement bathroom and a functional area such as a laundry room, a family room or a home theater.